Moscow – capital of Russia, capital of Moscow Oblast, a Hero-City. It
is one of the world’s most important and country’s leading political,
cultural, scientific and economic center. Moscow lies on the Moscow
River in the Volga-Oka interfluve, in the west central European part of
Russia. The Outer Ring Road delineates the city limits. Its area now is
over 1080 sq km with a population of 12,000,000. Over 8 million people
visit Moscow every day.
To date, it is the largest city in Europe and one of the largest
metropolitan areas in the world. The city consists of 10 major
administrative divisions that contain 128 districts.
One of the theories has it that the name Moskva consists of two roots
«mosk» meaning «a flint stone» and «kov» meaning «to hide». The Moscow
River probably borrowed its combined meaning «a stone hide» although
most scientists think the opposite.
The first written reference of the city dates back to 1147 but first
settlements began to appear much earlier. Some experts even date them
way back to 3,000 – 4,000 BC.
By AD 1200 Moscow was already the center town of its own principality
and by the end of the 15th century became the capital of a unified
Russian state. Since then it is one of the largest European cities.
Throughout the centuries Moscow has remained the Russian leading center
of culture, arts and sciences. It is the hometown to first Russian
book-printing, theater, university, newspaper, etc. The history of
Moscow remembers many facts: more than 2 centuries of the Mongol-Tatar
rule, wasting struggle against Polish-Lithuanian invaders, Napoleon’s
army that burned the city and of course the German Fascism.
Together with Saint-Petersburg, Moscow was one of the biggest sites
of revolutionary activities against the imperial government. The Moscow
working class contributed much to the 1905-1907 Revolution in Russia.
After the February Revolution of 1917 Moscow and St.Petersburg became 2
major centers for preparation for the Great October Revolution. In 1922
Moscow hosted the 1st Congress of Soviets which approved the Treaty of
Creation of the USSR making Moscow its capital since then.
Under the Soviet era Moscow witnessed its rapid development in many
spheres and is still developing now. Despite all these big industrial
changes, the face of Moscow has retained its traditional unique
features such as concentric ring-radial layout existing from the end of
the 16th century, its specific hilly landscape with elegant bends of
the Moscow River, huge parks and public gardens separating one district
from another, wide noisy thoroughfares and quiet alleys in the old part
of the city…
Moscow with its temperate continental climate is on of the world’s
severest capitals. Winter lasts from late November to early March. The
warm period starts in April and ends in October. The coldest month is
January (-11°C); the warmest month is July (+18°C).
The city of Moscow provides you with a various public transport: bus,
trolleybus, tram, fixed-run taxi and metro. A ticket bought in a
ticket-office will cost you 20 rubles and one bought in a vehicle – 25
rubles. One trip in a metro costs 22 rubles.
Moscow, the capital and the largest city of Russia, is the site of
numerous attractions: Tretyakov Gallery, Triumphal Arch on Kutuzovsky
Prospekt, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Pushkin Museum of Fine
Arts, Shilov Gallery, Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Epiphany
Monastery, Danilov Monastery, many other churches and monasteries,
Poklonnaya Hill, New Arbat Street, Old Arbat, the Boulevard Ring,
Kutuzovsky Prospekt, Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius
Lavra, Church of the Ascension in Kolomenskoye, Arkhangelskoye and
Tsaritsyno estates, Gostiny Dvor, Manege Square, Stalinist skyscrapers,
All-Russian Exhibition Center with the statue Worker and Kolkhoz Woman,
Moscow Zoo, Japanese Garden in the Botanical Garden of Academy of
Sciences, circuses and world-famous theaters.
This outstanding monument of history and architecture has long
become symbol of both Moscow and Russia. Its every building marks a
separate page in the history of the city. Its walls used to border the
limits of ancient Moscow; now it is the heart of the city. It stands on
Borovitsky Hill overlooking the Moskva River. From the opposite bank the
Kremlin with its walls and towers is seen as one grandiose
architectural ensemble. As you approach it, you are feeling strong power
of this ancient citadel. The height of its walls, narrow gun slots and
battle grounds tell you the Kremlin is a fortification. The south wall
faces the river, the north-western – the Alexander Garden, the eastern –
the Red Square.
The construction of the Kremlin took at least 9 centuries. In
1475-1479 at the peak of the highest hill the the Cathedral of the
Assumption was erected on the spot of an older stone church, making it
the main cathedral of the unified Muscovite state. The Annunciation
Cathedral, a family home of the Muscovite tsars, was constructed in
1484-1489 along with the cathedral of the Ordination serving a home
church to Russian bishops and patriarchs. The Annunciation Cathedral
still possesses frescoes painted by Andrei Rublev and Feofan Grek.
In 1505-1508 the Archangel Cathedral and Ivan the Great Bell Tower
(81 meters high) were erected. The Bell is truly considered one of the
greatest pieces of architecture. The Kremlin territory has many
constructions belonging to different periods of time: the Faceted
Chamber, the Terem Palace, the Arsenal, the residence of the Senate, the
Grand Kremlin Palace, the Armoury building, etc. In front of the
Arsenal building the famous Tsar Cannon cast in 1586 was placed.
One more sightseeing of the Kremlin is a gigantic Tsar Bell
commissioned by Empress Anna in 1733-1735. Now it is placed on a stone
pedestal next to the Ivan the Great Bell Tower.
The Kremlin Armoury commissioned by the Moscow Tsar Basil III was in
charge of producing and storing weapons and various military articles.
Now it is the main storage place of antiquities having great historical
and artistic value. The current Armoury building near the Borovitsky
Gate was erected in 1857.
The symbol of the Kremlin is the Spasskaya Tower, the most beautiful
and well-proportioned tower. It was erected in 1491. Its gates – main
gates of the Kremlin – are exquisitely decorated with the Kremlin clock,
over 6 meters in diameter. The Spasskaya Tower overlooks the Red Square
– the main square of the state.
In the middle of the 16th century the Square acquired a building
which later became the visit card of Moscow and Russia – Saint Basil's
Cathedral built in 1555-1561 to commemorate the triumphal capture of the
Khanate of Kazan.
The Square was named "Red” after decoration of the Spasskaya Tower
in 1625. In 1818 the Monument to Minin and Pozharsky was erected. The
Square is also the place for the Lenin's Mausoleum.
Poklonnaya Hill – a sloping hill between the Setun and Filka Rivers
in the western part of Moscow. It was the spot where Napoleon in vain
expected the keys to the Kremlin in 1812; it was the spot which the
Soviet soldiers passed on their way to the front in WWII.
On February 23, 1958 the memorable sign "Here will be the monument
of Victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945”
was put. Later it became the centerplace for the Victory Park.
Designing and constructing the memorial complex on the Poklonnaya
Hill took many years. Finally, it was officially opened on May 9, 1995,
on the anniversary of the Victory. It comprises the Central Museum of
the Great Patriotic War, the Victory Monument and three temples of three
religions: the monument of St George slaying the dragon was opened in
1995, a memorial mosque – in 1997, the Holocaust Memorial Synagogue – in
In the Square of Victors stands an Obelisk 141.8 meters high
symbolizing 1418 days and nights of the Great Patriotic War. It holds a
statue of Nike, a bronze figure of the goddess of Victory, near its top,
and at its pedestal – a statue of St George slaying the dragon – a
symbol of evil.
All-Russian Exhibition Center
The exhibition was first opened in 1939 and carried the name of the
All-Union Agricultural Exhibition. Sooner, it was closed after the Great
Patriotic War broke out and was re-opened in 1954.On May 1, 1958 a
metro station under the same name appeared. The same year the Soviet
Council of Ministers declares uniting all agricultural, industrial and
construction exhibitions into the Exhibition of Achievements of the
National Economy. In 1959 a new exhibition was renewed changing the
metro station name into its present one.
In 1992, the site was renamed, receiving its current name All-Russian
Exhibition Center. Over the 90-es its numerous pavilions served as
storage houses, trading places and commercial offices.
The territory of the exhibition houses architectural and sculptural
monuments of the Stalin era. Many are world-famous such as the statue
Worker and Kolkhoz Woman featured on a logo of Mosfilm. Fountain
"Friendship of Nations" ornated with female figures in national costumes
symbolizes 16 Soviet Republics. Near the Exhibition is the All-Russian
Institute of Technical Esthetics and the monument to space conquerors
dedicated to Soviet achievements in space industry.
Layed out in 1796, it is the most famous and the oldest boulevard in
Moscow. You can still see a big 2-century-old oak-tree in the shadow of
which a great Russian poet Pushkin used to have a rest. Its streets and
alleys has much retained their original designs of the 16th century.
The Boulevard is the site of various landmarks of history and
Arbat – a good old symbol-street of Moscow – celebrated its 500th
anniversary in 1993. In 1974-1986 there was made a pedestrian area with
many boutiques and souvenir shops and cafes. It is a gathering place for
street musicians and artists.
The State Tretyakov Gallery is one of the biggest world museums. It
deposits works from 10th to 20th centuries ranging all trends of Russian
painting – from icon-painting to avant-garde.
Cathedral of Christ the Saviour
On December 25, 1812 Tsar Alexander I signed a manifesto declaring
his intention to build a cathedral in honor of Russia’s victory over the
Napoleon army. The new cathedral was meant to embody the heroic deed of
the Russian nation. The magnificent building was the cause of annoyance
for the Soviet government for it went contrary with a new state
ideology and was demolished on December 5, 1931.
In July, 1992 Boris Yeltsin decreed to rebuild the cathedral and in
2000 the completed Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was consecrated and
since then is the main temple of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Luzhniki Olympic Complex was officially opened on July 31, 1956.
The Grand Sports Arena hosted 7 Spartakiades (sports contests) of the
peoples of the USSR, European and World Championships of ice-hockey,
basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, sambo, martial arts, Universal
Student Games, Good-Will Games, First World Youth Games and, most
important, 1980 Summer Olympics.
The Grand Sports Arena was greatly reconstructed twice: before the
XXII Summer Olympics and the 850th anniversary of Moscow.
On October 20, 1982, disaster struck Luzhniki: over 66 people were
crushed to death. In 1998 the stadium was included into the list of
5-star European football stadiums. On May 21, 2008 the Luzhniki Stadium
was a host to the Russia’s first and UEFA’s easternmost Champions League
Final. The following it received the status of the "Elite Stadium”.
The Grand Sports Arena Luzhniki has the world’s largest 63.5-wide
covering roof over spectators’ seats. It is unique in its engineering
design, weighing 15,000 tons with 72 steel towers, 26 meters each.